Michael Leiter, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, gave an important speech today at CSIS that touched on many topics, including an overview of the foreign and homeland terrorist threat, what the government is doing about it, and how the nation should respond to an attack if it occurs. In speaking about the growing independence of al Qaeda affiliates, Leiter said (around the seven-minute mark) this:
These affiliates have no longer simply relied upon their linkages to al-Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan, but they have in fact emerged more as self-sustaining independent movements and organizations. Now they still have important tentacles back to al-Qaeda senior leadership, I don’t want to downplay that, but in many ways, especially in the case of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, operate with a greater level of independence and, frankly, they operate at different pace and with a different level of complexity than does al-Qaeda senior leadership. . . . .
This passage highlights once again the growing problem of extra-AUMF threats.